A gunman who shot a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s sergeant in the face was captured by a SWAT team Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

The man had opened fire on the sergeant called to the scene of a robbery in an apartment complex around 12:30 p.m. in Lancaster, Calif., roughly 70 miles north of L.A., officials with the sheriff’s department told the Los Angeles Times. Sgt. Steve Owen, a 29-year-veteran of the department, died from his injuries hours later.

"There's a significant amount of work ahead of us at this time, and it's a really difficult time for us, as you can imagine," L.A. Sheriff's Capt. Steve Katz said at a news conference.

A SWAT team swarmed a residential area of Lancaster, Calif., roughly 70 miles outside Los Angeles, during the search for the suspect Wednesday.

A SWAT team swarmed a residential area of Lancaster, Calif., roughly 70 miles outside Los Angeles, during the search for the suspect Wednesday.

  (KTLA)

"We're all suffering right now. His family is suffering. His law enforcement family is suffering. It doesn't get worse than this, folks." 

Owen, 53, had been taken to Antelope Valley Hospital in critical condition after the shot to his face on Wednesday afternoon, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris told the Times. The sheriff's office initially reported that a deputy had also been shot, but Sheriff Jim McDonnell later said the deputy had simply been injured.

"It was a roll up burglary call. It was a simple call," McDonnell told the local newspaper. "We don’t know if it was an ambush or anything."

Owen had detained the suspect, but a deputy at the front of the complex heard gunfire moments later, police told KABC-TV. The deputy found Owen on the ground suffering from the gunshot wound and the suspect trying to steal Owen's cruiser, police said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department tweeted this picture of special enforcement bureau officers traveling to the scene in Lancaster, Calif., on Wednesday afternoon.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department tweeted this picture of special enforcement bureau officers traveling to the scene in Lancaster, Calif., on Wednesday afternoon.

  (@SEBLASD VIA TWITTER)

The deputy fired on the suspect, but the gunman, an Antelope Valley resident on active parole, ran away into a home blocks away. Investigators said he took two teenagers inside hostage for a time. 

A local college blocks away issued a shelter-in-place order, and officials placed the college and two nearby high schools on lockdown during a manhunt for the gunman. SWAT officers cuffed the man after searching the neighborhood around the shooting scene on Avenue J-7.

The suspect had been taken into custody about an hour and a half after the shooting.

The suspect had been taken into custody about an hour and a half after the shooting.

  (KTLA)

Investigators said the SWAT team shot the suspect once in the upper torso and found a weapon on him. The suspect was receiving treatment at a hospital ahead of his booking Wednesday.

No one else was wanted Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff’s department tweeted. Deputies cautioned local residents to stay away from the scene.

Gunfire rang out at 12:35 p.m. local time at the Hidden Falls Apartments, KTLA-TV reported. Local news stations showed video of the as-yet-unidentified suspect putting his arms up while surrounded by armored officers after running into a backyard an hour and a half later.

The sheriff's department had awarded Owen a medal of valor, its highest honor, in 2014, and his wife serves as an arson detective with the same department. She and their two adult children were by his side when he succumbed to his injuries Wednesday, according to KTLA.